Framing the Future: The Foundation Series, Foundation Models and Framing AI
Are we at risk of preserving in digital aspic current hegemonic ways of doing, talking and thinking about law and economy? Our dominant frames are those of neoclassical economics and doctrinal law, which, combined, align with neoliberal assumptions and preferences. Invisible through their ubiquity, these partially reveal and conceal problems and solutions, perpetuating inequalities. And yet, unlike social biases, our framing tends to fly largely under the radar, as we see in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
Taking three themes from Asimov’s work that align with current hegemonic frames, namely the centrality of the individual as the subject, a belief in scientism and technological progress to save humanity, and a dissatisfaction with the limitations of language, this paper explores what, how and why we might exercise caution in the development of natural language processing (NLP) artificial intelligence (AI). By drawing parallels with Asimov’s work and the development of foundation models that underpin all NLP AI systems, this paper asks to what extent neoliberal framing and the inequalities perpetuated therein might come to be embedded in future technologies.